Premier League • England

Liverpool wrestling Real Madrid for huge first summer signing as Fabrizio Romano reveals crafty Slot plan

Leny Yoro, Arne Slot

Arne Slot is pushing Liverpool towards the signing of Leny Yoro

Liverpool are ready to make a serious push to sign Lille defender Leny Yoro this summer – but Fabrizio Romano has revealed their chances may hinge entirely on the Real Madrid interest in signing the teenage sensation.

The Reds are preparing for a new era on Merseyside after Arne Slot was chosen as the man to step into the somewhat daunting shoes of Jurgen Klopp. The German departed Anfield at the end of last season following the culmination of close to nine glorious years in the Liverpool dug-out, departing for the Majorcan sunshine where he owns a luxury villa.

While Slot has also prepared himself for stepping into his shoes by also sunning himself in the Balearic Islands – Ibiza being the Dutchman’s choice – work has already long since got underway at how Liverpool can look to challenge for the game’s top honours against next season.

Liverpool, undoubtedly, face quite the task, though Michael Edwards – the man who opted for Slot due to his similar tactical approach to his predecessor – will hope a fresh face with new ideas can help the Reds push forwards.

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Of course, squad changes are expected to come too and it’s understood that Slot has already held in-depth conversations with Edwards and new sporting director Richard Hughes over which players to target this summer.

A new No 6 to play at the base of midfield is likely to be required, while the Reds do have targets in mind for goalkeeper – if Caoimhin Kelleher departs – and in attack, if one of Luis Diaz, or (less likely) Mo Salah moves on.

Fabrizio Romano reveals Liverpool determination to sign Leny Yoro

However, the immediate priority for Slot is a new centre-half. Joel Matip departed at the end of his contract at the end of the season, while Virgil van Dijk – despite another outstanding season for the Reds – will turn 33 in a few weeks.

Unfortunately, time stands still for no man and Slot and Liverpool are already planning for life beyond the Dutchman.

Liverpool, as so often they do, would love to bring in that long-term successor now and have him spend a season or two learning off Van Dijk and becoming the best version of himself that he can be.

And in Yoro, the Lille centre-half has sprung right to the top of Slot’s wishlist, with plans now formulating at just how Liverpool can win the transfer race.

Liverpool appear the most likely English suitor to sign Yoro with the defender, who has made clear he wants to leave Lille, seemingly angling more for a move to Anfield over his other suitors, Manchester United.

However, as Romano has revealed, the main danger for Liverpool will undoubtedly come from Real Madrid.

“Liverpool are there, Liverpool are interested in Yoro. Liverpool believe that Yoro will be a fantastic player. So, Liverpool have included Yoro in their shortlist,” Romano said on PlaybackTV.

“Liverpool are now waiting to see what happens between Yoro and Real Madrid. If Real Madrid will go strong on this one, they have the preference of the player.

“But, if Real Madrid decide against going strong on Yoro, in that case, Liverpool are among clubs really interested in the player. Also, Paris Saint-Germain.”

Liverpool transfers: Slot believes they can win race for €50m Ligue 1 star

Per reports, Liverpool plan to make contact with Lille in the coming days to formalise their interest.

The French side want a minimum €50m fee for the 18-year-old, who has already racked up 60 appearances for the club.

And while Real Madrid are very much keen, their focus lies on signing a new right-back to replace veteran star Dani Carvajal and with Alphonso Davies also in their sights for the left-back role.

Los Blancos have already brought in Kylian Mbappe this summer and while the move is officially marked as a ‘free transfer’ the move is anything but that given the hefty signing-on fee and significant wages the France superstar will command.

Understandably, Yoro is also drawn towards the Bernabeu, but if Real’s budget does not stretch for his signing this summer, Liverpool have reason to believe a move is on.

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The Reds can point towards the number of matches played by Jarrel Quansah to show that opportunities will be afforded on Merseyside and his development, especially under the tutelage of Van Dijk, will be aided, not hindered at Anfield.

The presence of another Frenchman, Ibrahima Konate, in the heart of their defence – and the likely long-term partner for Yoro were he to sign – could also aid their cause.

While another strong young French presence in the Premier League – Arsenal’s William Saliba – can show the player that the English game is the perfect next step for him.